Rachel Weisz, 48, and Daniel Craig, 50, are expecting their first baby together

Congratulations are in order for Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig.

The actress, 48, told The New York Times Friday that she is expecting her first child with the Spectre star, 50.

“I’ll be showing soon,” she told the newspaper. “Daniel and I are so happy. We’re going to have a little human. We can’t wait to meet him or her. It’s all such a mystery.”

The happy couple married in 2011 and both have children from previous relationships.

Craig shares a daughter, Ella Craig, who is in her mid-20s, with first wife Fiona Loudon. Weisz shares a son, Henry Aronofsky, 11, with her former partner, director Darren Aronofsky.

Craig is best known for his work in the 007 franchise. Weisz, who won a best-supporting-actress Oscar in 2006 for The Constant Gardener, has also starred in The Mummy movies.

USA TODAY has reached out to Weisz and Craig’s reps for comment.


George H.W. Bush wore socks with books on them to Barbara Bush’s funeral

Former president George H. W. Bush honored his late wife by wearing socks with books on them to her funeral Saturday.

Barbara Bush championed the issue of literacy throughout her life and her husband has a reputation for wearing colorful socks.

“To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, @GeorgeHWBush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today’s funeral service for former First Lady Barbara Bush,” tweeted the couple’s spokesman Jim McGrath.

The former first lady, who died Tuesday at 92, formed the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy to fund programs that teach parents in low-income families to read and pass on reading to their children.

“If everyone could read and write, all the problems I worried about could be solved,” she told USA TODAY in 2014. “If you can’t read, you can’t do anything.”

McGrath later tweeted a photo of the socks worn by the 93-year-old.



Ex-Miss Kentucky gets probation for bringing pot into prison

LIMA, Ohio — A former Miss Kentucky who tried to smuggle a small amount of marijuana into an Ohio prison for her boyfriend won’t have to spend time behind bars.

The Lima News reports 28-year-old Kia Hampton, of Louisville, Kentucky, received probation Wednesday during a hearing in Allen County in western Ohio. Authorities say Hampton was found with a marijuana-filled balloon at the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution in May 2017.

While prosecutors pushed for a prison sentence, the judge said Hampton seemed remorseful. She could have received three years in prison.
Hampton was crowned Miss Kentucky in 2010 and became the first black woman to represent the state in the Miss USA pageant.

She told the judge Wednesday she wants a “fresh start” and attributed her behavior to “foolishness.”
Information from: The Lima News,

Verne Troyer, Mini Me in ‘Austin Powers,’ dead at 49

Verne Troyer, the actor best-known for portraying Mini Me in the “Austin Powers” trilogy has died. He was 49.
The news of the actor’s death was reported on his Instagram account on Saturday afternoon.

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” a post to the account read.
“Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much,” the post continued.

A cause of death was not revealed.

Earlier this month, Troyer was hospitalized after his friends called 911 saying the actor was drunk and suicidal. He was reportedly held for 72 hours for an evaluation, according to TMZ.

The news

The World Premiere of Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ ‘The Lone Ranger’ at Disney California Adventure Park – Arrivals
Featuring: Verne Troyer
Where: Anaheim, California, United States
When: 22 Jun 2013
Credit: FayesVision/

came about one year after Troyer had checked himself into a rehab program to try and overcome his struggles with alcoholism.
On his Instagram account, the post said “you never what kind of battle someone is going through inside.”

“Depression and Suicide are very serious issues,” the post read. “Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.”


Troyer was recently baptized as he carried on through a difficult time recently, according to the post.

The 2 ft. 8 in. actor has battled alcoholism for years and nearly died from alcohol poisoning in 2002.

Troyer portrayed Mini Me, the sidekick to Mike Myers’ character Dr. Evil, in the 1999 film “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and the 2002 flick “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

He was briefly married to Playboy model Genevieve Gallen for less than a year in 2004. In 2006, he appeared on the reality series “The Surreal Life” where he was often shown intoxicated.

The actor has made sporadic appearances in films and TV shows since “Austin Powers” and has upcoming roles listed in the 2018 film “Hipsters, Gangsters, Aliens and Geeks” and “The 420 Movie: Mary & Jane.”


Investigation says Prince was isolated, addicted and in pain

MINNEAPOLIS — After Prince had to be revived from a drug overdose a week before his death, one friend told the musical superstar that he needed to stop taking painkillers. But Prince said he couldn’t — his hands hurt so much that if he quit, he’d have to stop performing.

“This piano tour I think was getting to his hands,” singer Judith Hill told investigators, according to a transcript of her interview.

Those words, found amid hundreds of pages of interviews between investigators and Prince’s closest confidants, provide insight into just how much the man known for his energetic performances and larger-than-life personality was suffering. The documents open parts of Prince’s life that the intensely-private celebrity tried to keep from even his closest confidants.

“How did he hide this so well?” Prince’s closest friend and bodyguard Kirk Johnson said in an interview with detectives. While Johnson said he didn’t realize that opioids were a problem until that overdose, he had noticed Prince was unwell before that and took him to a doctor.

In their zeal to protect Prince’s privacy, Carver County Attorney Mark Metz said some of the singer’s friends might have enabled him.

Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park studio compound in suburban Minneapolis on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. Authorities say it is likely Prince didn’t know he was taking the dangerous drug, which was laced in counterfeit pills made to look like a generic version of the painkiller Vicodin.

The source of those pills is unknown and no one has been charged in Prince’s death.


David Copperfield Has Been Forced to Reveal His Famous ‘Lucky 13’ Magic Trick in Court

David Copperfield was forced to break the magicians code in court Tuesday, when a judge ordered him to explain one of his most famous tricks following a lawsuit from an injured participant.

British tourist Gavin Cox, 58, is suing the illusionist for negligence after he claimed he was injured after taking part in Copperfield’s “Lucky #13” trick in Las Vegas in 2013, the BBC reports.

Cox said he has suffered chronic pain and brain injury following a fall that dislocated his shoulder. He said in the suit he has spent more than $400,000 on medical bills, according to NBC.

Copperfield, who is the world’s highest paid magician, has performed his famous “Lucky #13” trick thousands of times without prior incident. The performance involves randomly selecting 13 audience members, making them disappear on stage, only for them to later reappear at the back of the room.

A Las Vegas district court rejected Copperfield’s defense, which argued that disclosing the secret behind the trick would be financially detrimental to him. He was ordered to explain how the trick was done.


Roseanne Barr shades Wendy Williams over husband

Roseanne Barr skillfully husband-shaded Wendy Williams on the host’s own show.

The comedian appeared on “The Wendy Williams Show” Wednesday to discuss the revival of her sitcom “Roseanne,” and was surprised when Williams mentioned Barr’s ex Tom Arnold was hired by the Hollywood Reporter to review the reboot.

Barr clapped back with, “I don’t like talking about husbands . . . Right, Wendy?” Barr was seemingly referring to reports Williams’ husband, Kevin Hunter, was unfaithful.

After gasps from the audience, Williams — who insists all is fine at home — replied, “I don’t mind talking about husbands; he’s fabulous.”



Cosby lawyers: No T-shirts, flowers or slogans at retrial

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers want T-shirts, buttons and other slogan-filled items banned from his upcoming sexual assault retrial after some accusers were seen with them in the audience at his first trial.

Cosby’s lawyers argued in court papers on Tuesday that slogans like “We Stand in Truth” could influence jurors. They also want to ban people from bringing in flowers, posters and other props.

Some women at Cosby’s first trial carried bouquets of pink gladioli to express solidarity with other women who say the comedian drugged and molested them.

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he assaulted a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

His first trial ended in a hung jury. Retrial jury selection is scheduled for April 2.

Prosecutors on Tuesday said jurors shouldn’t hear why a district attorney declined to file criminal charges in 2005 because his opinion is irrelevant to the case at hand.


Hall of Famer Joe Montana advocates cannabis for pain relief, healing

© Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports Count the legendary Montana among the former and current pro athletes advocating for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

As the NFL and NFLPA move toward potentially removing cannabis as a banned substance in the coming years, yet another high-profile former NFL star — four-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana — has come out in favor of utilizing this medicine.

Montana was one of eight former NFL players interviewed by Playboy magazine on this topic.

“Legalization is picking up steam on a global level and I feel like now is the time to spread information about the curing capabilities of this plant,” Montana said. “As with any medicine, increased accessibility comes with the need for education. Cannabis eased my pain. It also put me in a state of healing and relief.”

Eugene Monroe was also interviewed by the magazine. As he did when he spoke with Sportsnaut about this topic, he continues to spread the message that cannabis is so much more beneficial than opiates. It’s a message that is gaining steam, especially in light of the research that shows cannabis can be extremely helpful for players dealing with concussions.

At this time, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug in the United States of America, though many states have legalized it for medicinal and recreational use. There is political pressure being applied from both sides of the issue, and it remains to be seen what will happen in the coming years in regard to its legality.


Kodak Black Tossed into Solitary Confinement after Unauthorized 3-Way Prison Call

Kodak Black’s current stint in prison just took a turn for the worst. The rapper, born Dieuson Octave, was arrested earlier this year while live-broadcasting on Instagram. He was apprehended in Florida and faced seven charges, including: two counts of probation violation, possession of marijuana, grand theft of a firearm, two counts of possession of a weapon by a felon and child neglect.

Black has reportedly been placed in solitary confinement or 30 days after allegedly using a prison phone to have a caller connect him to another person with whom he was not authorized to contact.

Billboard reports that Black’s attorney, Bradford Cohen, confirmed that Black was removed from general population following the three-way call. “In my 21 years of practice, I’ve never had someone get 30 days solitary for a 3 way call,” Cohen explains, noting that he is unsure with whom Black made contact.


Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at 76

Stephen Hawking, one of the most influential scientists in the modern era, has died at age 76.
A representative for his family released a statement saying he died at his home in Cambridge, England, on Wednesday.

“It is with great sadness we announce the death of Professor Stephen Hawking,” the statement said. “Professor Hawking died peacefully at his home in the early hours of this morning.

“His family have kindly requested that they be given the time and privacy to mourn his passing, but they would like to thank everyone who has been by Professor Hawking’s side — and supported him — throughout his life.”
Hawking is survived by his three children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim. The three also released a statement:

“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.

“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”
Fellow scientists offered their condolences on social media, including the renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake,” Tyson said on Twitter. “But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure.”

“Stephen Hawking was the rare famous scientist who deserved every bit of his fame,” Sean Carroll, a physicist at Caltech, tweeted. “A brilliant physicist and an inspirational person. And quite a character.”

“A star just went out in the cosmos,” the theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss said on Twitter. “We have lost an amazing human being. Stephen Hawking fought and tamed the cosmos bravely for 76 years and taught us all something important about what it truly means to celebrate about being human.”

Hawking, a theoretical physicist, made several discoveries that transformed the way scientists viewed black holes and the universe.

Though he had Lou Gehrig’s disease, the neurodegenerative malady also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, that impaired his motor functions, he went on to become a mathematics professor and eventually the director of research at the University of Cambridge’s Center for Theoretical Cosmology.

“I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many,” Hawking, who long used a wheelchair, reportedly wrote on his website. “I have been lucky that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope.”

Hawking was also known to bridge the gap on complicated subjects by infusing humor and wit during his lectures. His character and personality produced several infamous anecdotes and references in pop culture, including appearances on various TV shows.

“I recall when we has giving lectures and it was a huge effort for him to speak (before the tracheotomy and the computer voice) he still made the effort to throw jokes in,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said on Twitter.
“That says something.”

‘American Idol’ Season 16 Premiere: Meet The Judges For 2018 ABC Series

The iconic singing competition, “American Idol,” is scheduled to make its return to television on Sunday night. The 2018 reboot will feature a brand new panel of judges and a very different approach when it comes to sharing the auditions of the contestants.

Before tuning in to “American Idol” Season 16, meet the judges that will be gracing the small screen when the show premieres.

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Nun involved in lawsuit with Katy Perry over convent dies during court hearing

In the midst of a years-long legal battle attempting to prohibit Katy Perry from purchasing a former Catholic convent, one of the nuns involved in the case died while attending a court hearing related to the case.

CBS News reported that on Friday, Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, 89, collapsed during a court hearing in Los Angeles.

“Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, IHM passed away suddenly today at the age of 89,” Archbishop José H. Gomez wrote in a statement on her passing obtained by PEOPLE.

“Sister Catherine Rose served the Church with dedication and love for many years and today we remember her life with gratitude. We extend our prayers today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary community and to all her friends and loved ones,” he continued.

Hours before her death, Holzman and Sister Rita Callanan spoke out against Perry to Fox 7, marking the first time the nuns had spoken to the press since 2016, when a Los Angeles judged ruled against the pair — who had attempted to sell the convent to businesswoman Dana Hollister — clearing the way for Perry to purchase the property.

According to ABC 7, the nuns tried to complete the sale without getting approval from the Archbishop, but were then sued by the archdiocese in 2015, igniting the lengthy litigation process.

At the time, the Associated Press reported that Perry reportedly offered $14.5 million for the house, and that the singer’s bid was approved by the Los Angeles’ archbishop, but was still waiting on approval from the Vatican.

“Katy Perry, please stop,” Holzman told Fox 7. “It’s not doing anyone any good [and it’s] hurting a lot of people.”
RELATED: Katy Perry’s Attempt to Buy a Hollywood Convent Reportedly Blocked By Nuns

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2015, Callanan said that the nuns were against the sale because they didn’t approve of the singer’s image.

“Well, I found Katy Perry, and I found her videos and if it’s all right to say, I wasn’t happy with any of it,” she said.


Joey Lawrence files for bankruptcy: ‘Melissa & Joey’ star has $60 in cash and $8000 in the bank

Joey Lawrence and his wife have filed for bankruptcy after plummeting into debt, according to The Blast, which has published details of the family’s dire financial situation.

After the cancellation of “Melissa and Joey,” Lawrence’s income plummeted: He made $534,000 in 2015 but only $58,000 the following year. He claims he currently has $60 in cash and $8,000 in the bank.

The actor reportedly earns between $4,000 and $6,000 a month — a stark contrast from the $500,000 salary he made while employed by ABC Family (now Freeform). The network canceled “Melissa & Joey,” which co-starred Melissa Joan Hart, in 2015 after five seasons.

With two young children at home, Lawrence notes in his bankruptcy paperwork that family expenses leave them $18,000 in debt each month. He and his wife, who is unemployed, have taken to selling their possessions on eBay and at thrift store Buffalo Exchange.

Among the debts are $88,000 in back taxes, $132,000 in credit card debt and almost $100,000 for automobiles. The family’s three cars have been repossessed.

This article was initially published on Joey Lawrence files for bankruptcy: ‘Melissa & Joey’ star has $60 in cash and $8000 in the bank

From suicidal to ‘thriving’: Montel Williams details his emotional journey with MS

At the age of 43, author, actor, TV host, and entrepreneur Montel Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). “I was on an airplane flying from New York to Utah to shoot an episode of the show Touched by an Angel. I got on this plane in the morning and my feet caught on fire,” Williams tells Yahoo Lifestyle, holding back tears. “The pain was so extreme, and when I focus in on it I can sense it, I can remember it. It was so bad that I literally couldn’t stand up at the end of the flight.”

When Williams was diagnosed with MS shortly thereafter, he says the doctor who diagnosed him gave him a “death sentence” and a litany of opioid prescriptions to dull the pain. “I was walking around in this pseudo-suicidal state,” Williams says. “After my second attempt at taking my own life, I recognized that I was going to not just live with this, I was going to figure out — in some way, shape, or form — how to turn this into something I could thrive at.”

Williams took control of his care and now, nearly 20 years after his diagnosis, lives a lifestyle tailor-made to managing his symptoms. “I just hate this whole idea of spending all my time getting ready to die from MS,” he says. “I’d rather live.”

MS, a chronic, often debilitating disease of the central nervous system, affects 2.3 million people around the world — Williams being one of them. People of all different ancestry and genetic backgrounds have it, and as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society says, “The myth that black people do not get MS is just that — a myth.”

“Everything from my vitamin regimen to my eating regimen to my exercise regimen — these things have all combined together to where I am now thriving with MS,” Williams says.

Since Williams came to terms with his diagnosis, he has been hard at work doing all he can to help the MS community at large. He has helped fund MS research all across the country and even founded a company, Helius Medical Technologies, that is putting forth something called a PoNS device which he thinks has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of pain people with MS endure.

“I have MS,” Williams says of the disease. “MS will never have me.”


Jimmy Kimmel shares plan for his Oscars opening monologue

Each year, there is much talk about what the Academy Awards host will do or say at the opening of the show –which makes it all the better that Sunday night’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, is giving viewers a little preview in what to expect from his opening monologue.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the late night host said that while the format will be a little more of what fans are used to, he does plan to utilize a more relaxed style with things that play more off of the live audience.

“I’m gonna do basically the same thing but with different jokes,” the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host explained. “It’s kind of the same drill. I feel like I learned little things, subtle things. Every time you do something like this you gain wisdom because the audience is not like the audience of your talk show. They’re not there to see you. You’re there to see them, so it’s just a different approach.”

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Rick Ross Is Hospitalized After Getting Unconscious at Home, but Not on ‘Life Support’

Rick Ross was rumored to be on a life support machine today following reports that he had been hospitalized after being found unresponsive at his Miami home this morning (March 2). His close friend and fellow MMG artist Fat Trel is now taking to Instagram to dispel those rumors.

Ross was reportedly on a machine that was taking over the functions of his heart and lungs, but Fat Trel claims he spoke to Rozay and he’s alive and well.

Fat Trel did confirm that Ross is in the hospital but denied that the rapper is on life support. “JUS TALKED 2 MY BIG HOMIE… HE GOOD… HE IN DA HOSPITAL BUT HE IS NOT ON “LIFE SUPPORT” … HE GOOD💯💯💯,” he wrote.

Earlier today (March 2), it was reported that Rick Ross was hospitalized with possible pneumonia after being discovered unresponsive at his Miami home. Now, sources close to Ross have said he’s been put on a form of life support.

According to TMZ, Rozay has been hooked up to a machine that takes over the function of his lungs and heart. It’s believed the rapper is in the cardiac unit of a Miami-area hospital, which is a strong sign that Ross may have suffered a heart attack.
Doctors are reportedly using a technique called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO, which oxygenates blood outside of the body before being pumping it back into the body.

Rick Ross
Press photo 2014

According to earlier reports, someone from the Rather You Than Me rapper’s home called 911 after they found Rozay “slobbing from the mouth” around 3:30 A.M. on Thursday (March 1). The caller also allegedly said Ross was “breathing heavily” while unresponsive in the middle of the night.
While Ross’ team has not confirmed his whereabouts, a rep for the rapper did reveal he had to cancel an appearance last night due to his hospitalization, but a family member of Ross denies the reports.

The “Trap Trap Trap” artist has had a history of medical problems, and has previously suffered from multiple seizures on two different flights. After the health scare, he decided to change his diet and lifestyle, which led him to eventually drop 100 pounds.
XXL has reached out to Rick Ross’ team at Epic Records for a comment about his current health status.


Who Wants to Publish Omarosa’s White House Tell-All Book?

Publishing industry insiders weigh in on whether there’s a market for such a book.

Omarosa Manigault Newman isn’t shy about expressing her interest in writing a “tell-all” book about her brief tenure in Donald Trump’s White House.
“I’m thinking of writing a tell-all sometime,” Newman told her castmates on an episode of Celebrity Big Brother that aired on Feb. 24. “I have to tell my truth. I’m tired of being muted.”

But, now that she’s off the show and embarking on a media tour that took her to Stephen Colbert’s show on Wednesday night, Newman is being coy about her plans. Prior to a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, her representatives made clear that questions about a book or even about her time in the White House were off limits, even though she made national news last weekend by talking about being “freed off of a plantation.”

Asked again this week whether Newman wants to write a book, her rep did not respond to an email.

Another question is whether any major publishing house would be interested in publishing Newman’s account of her time in the White House.


Why Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx’s ‘Serious’ Relationship Works

Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx have each other’s backs, and their relationship is stronger because of it.

“Their relationship works because of the love, compassion, trust and support they have for each other,” a source close to Holmes explains in the new issue of Us Weekly.

While Holmes, 39, and Foxx, 50, “do lead their own separate lives,” admits the pal, “They confide in and rely on each other pretty heavily. They’re definitely very serious.”

“When they’re together, it works. When they’re not, they’re on their own,” the source adds. “It’s what works for them.”
As previously reported, Us revealed in 2013 that the Dawson’s Creek alum and the Grammy winner are dating. The duo were not spotted together in public until September 2017 when they were seen holding hands on a beach in Malibu.

“They’d both been in public relationships before,” a source explained to Us in January. “They care about each other a lot and they tried to stay as quiet as possible because they didn’t want to ruin that.”

They stepped out again on February 14 at a basketball court in Calabasas for Valentine’s Day.

“They were really happy,” an eyewitness previously told Us of basketball date. “Katie was dancing as they walked in and Jamie was laughing. They seem really at ease and truly enjoying each other.”

The notoriously private pair have agreed to keep their relationship as quiet as possible, a source previously explained to Us: “Katie and Jamie have an agreement that they’ll never talk about their relationship or each other in the press.”


Graham praised by Trump, politicians as ‘America’s pastor’

WASHINGTON – The president gently touched the bare wood of Billy Graham’s casket. The speaker of the House bowed his head. And hundreds of other lawmakers, family and friends stood in a rare salute Wednesday to the man they called, “America’s pastor.”

“He ministered to all walks, from some of the greats whose statues line this hall — Eisenhower, King, Ford, and Reagan — to the everyday citizens lining up today to pay their respects,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, gesturing to Graham’s casket under the eye of the Capitol Rotunda.
President Donald Trump, who met Graham but is closer to his son, Franklin, nonetheless recalled that the elder Graham had long been part of his life. Trump said his father, Fred, “said to me, ‘Come on, son … Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium.’ And it was something very special.”

He called Graham “an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God’s grace.”
Graham’s influence stretched far beyond the city where he counseled presidents and lawmakers to a global flock over the better part of seven decades. He is known for having met every president, Trump included, and counseled most.

But he learned to be wary of the heat of politics. Close to Richard Nixon, Graham later said the details of the Watergate scandal made him feel used.

But the world of American politics and government embraced Graham on Wednesday, a week after he died at age 99. Those gathered, including Vice President Mike Pence, some members of Trump’s Cabinet and members of the House and Senate, stood around the casket. They were ringed by paintings of the nation’s founders.

“The man we recognize today shared the Gospel with more people, face-to-face, than anyone else in history,” said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As the leaders stood by the casket, Trump reached out to touch it. Ryan, nearby, bowed his head.
Some 30 family members accompanied Graham’s casket to Washington, where he had befriended presidents of both parties. Graham’s son, Franklin, tweeted a photo Wednesday of family members loading the casket onto a jet emblazoned with “Samaritan’s Purse,” the name of a Christian relief charity that he chairs.

Graham is lying in honor before a funeral Friday near his home in North Carolina. The Rotunda entrances were draped with black fabric, and Graham’s casket rested on a black-draped catafalque beneath the soaring ceiling and its painting, the “Apotheosis of Washington.”
Graham felt burned by Nixon for years. Nixon’s White House tapes released in 2002 included Graham’s voice telling the president that Jews “don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.” He apologized.
Nonetheless, he ministered to other presidents until his health began to fail.

Former President Bill Clinton recalled seeing one of Graham’s crusades as a child, a profound experience that became more amazing over his life. Graham counseled him as Arkansas governor, and later as president in the White House itself.
“In that little room, he was the same person I saw when I was 11 on that football field,” Clinton said Tuesday after viewing the casket at Graham’s home.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, visited Graham’s home earlier in the week.
In Washington, Ryan said there had been no doubt that Graham would receive the honor of a public viewing in the Rotunda. He told reporters that almost immediately upon hearing of Graham’s death he, Trump, McConnell and Rep. Patrick McHenry, who represents the Graham family’s district, agreed it would happen.

Trump met Graham at the pastor’s 95th birthday party in 2013, but is closer to Franklin Graham Jr.
Graham shares the honor of a public viewing in the Rotunda with 11 presidents and other distinguished Americans, starting with Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky in 1852 and, most recently, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii in 2012.

Graham is only the fourth private person to lie in honor since 1998. The others are two U.S. Capitol Police officers who died in the line of duty in 1998 and civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005.

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Ellen DeGeneres Has Children’s Hospital Room Dedicated To Jimmy Kimmel’s Son

Ellen DeGeneres has honored Jimmy Kimmel and his son Billy by dedicating a room on the Heart Institute floor at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to the child, the daytime talk show host announced Monday.

Kimmel has been vocal about Billy’s battle with congenital heart disease since he was born last May. Billy had emergency open-heart surgery when he was 3 days old, and had a second operation late last year.

Kimmel has been critical of Republican efforts to reform the health care system, and brought Billy onto the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” stage with him in December to advocate for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

DeGeneres praised Kimmel for his honesty about his family’s struggles and his willingness to show emotion when talking about health care reform, mentioning a few times when the late-night host has teared up.

“It’s embarrassing to me. I try not to cry,” Kimmel said before DeGeneres introduced her surprise.

“You’re such a great guy, and that was so emotional to see you go through that,” DeGeneres said. “We called our friends at Children’s Hospital LA, including Billy’s surgeon. We have named one of the rooms of the Heart Institute floor in honor of Billy.”

Then DeGeneres and an emotional Kimmel watched a video of doctors and nurses at the hospital standing outside the room dedicated to Billy.
Kimmel later tweeted about the exchange on Tuesday, with a photograph of Billy smiling:


Billy Graham, America’s pastor, has died at 99

Rev. Billy Graham died at the age of 99. He was known for his charisma, but said “I despise all this attention on me…I’m not trying to bring people to myself, but I know that God has sent me out as a warrior.” USA TODAY

The world’s best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, died Wednesday. He was 99.
From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America’s pastor.

Graham died at his mountain home in Montreat, N.C., where he retired in 2005 after nearly six decades on the road calling people to Christ at 417 all-out preaching and musical events from Miami to Moscow. His final New York City crusade in 2005 was sponsored by 1,400 regional churches from 82 denominations. In recent years, he was plagued by various ailments, including cancer and pneumonia.

He took his Bible to the ends of the Earth in preaching tours he called “crusades.” Presidents called on Graham in their dark hours, and uncounted millions say he showed them the light.

“The GREAT Billy Graham is dead,” President Trump tweeted Wednesday. “There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.”


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Analysis: Divorce, drugs, drinking: Billy Graham’s children and their absent father

Billy Graham and Ruth Bell met at Wheaton College in the fall of 1940. A vivacious and feisty beauty who had grown up in China as the daughter of Presbyterian medical missionaries, Ruth was the prize catch of her class. After a first date, to a performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” Billy wrote home to announce that he had met the girl he planned to marry. Ruth described Billy as “a man that knew God in a very unusual way.” Graham died Wednesday in his home in Montreat, N.C., at the age of 99.

The courtship between Billy and Ruth, though hardly rocky by conventional measures, faced a formidable obstacle. Both felt called to serve God, but Ruth had long dreamed of evangelizing Tibet, whereas Billy had thought of preaching in fields rather more “white unto harvest.” He respected Ruth’s noble aspiration, but because he felt no Himalayan call himself, he convinced her that not to choose his course would be to thwart God’s obvious will.

After Ruth acknowledged that she wanted to be his wife, he pointed out that the Bible says the husband is head of the wife and declared, “Then I’ll do the leading and you do the following.” Though only the blindest of observers would conclude that Ruth Bell ever surrendered her will or her independence, she soon began to learn what following Billy Graham would mean.

After their marriage in August 1943, Ruth caught a chill while returning from their honeymoon. Instead of calling to cancel a routine preaching engagement in Ohio and staying at the bedside of his new bride, Billy checked her into a hospital and kept the appointment, sending her a telegram and a box of candy for consolation. She felt hurt, but soon learned that nothing came before preaching on her husband’s list of priorities.

In 1945, Graham became a full-time evangelist, a job that had him traveling throughout the United States and Europe. Perhaps sensing the start of a lifelong pattern, and pregnant with their first child, Ruth moved in with her parents in Montreat, N.C., a Presbyterian retirement community. The Bells provided her with companionship to ease the loneliness she felt during her husband’s long absences and were there to share important moments — when their first child, Virginia (always called “Gigi”), was born in 1945, Billy was away on a preaching trip.

As Graham’s crusades took him throughout the world, little was left for Ruth and the children — Gigi, Anne, then Ruth (long called Bunny), Franklin and Ned. Once, when Ruth brought Anne to a crusade and let her surprise her father while he was talking on the telephone, he stared at the toddler with a blank look, not recognizing his own daughter. In a turnabout a few years later, young Franklin greeted his father’s homecoming from a crusade with a puzzled, “Who he?”
To keep him in their hearts and minds, Ruth read Billy’s letters aloud and guided the children as they prayed for him and his work. On Sunday afternoons, she gathered them together to listen to his voice on the “Hour of Decision” broadcast. Afterward, he usually called to talk with each of them.

If the children commented on their father’s absence, they were told he had “gone somewhere to tell the people about Jesus.” Gigi remembered that “Mother never said, ‘Daddy’s going away for a month.’ Instead, she would say, ‘Daddy will be home in a month. We’ll do such and such before he comes back.’ ” She also noted that, particularly when she was younger, “I thought everyone’s daddy was gone. And my granddaddy was such a father figure for us, that it never hit me that it was all that unusual.”
Whether it was perceived as unusual or not, the children did notice their father’s absence. Once, Ruth saw one of the girls sitting on the lawn, staring wistfully at an airplane in the distance and calling out, “Bye, Daddy! Bye, Daddy!” A plane meant Daddy was going somewhere.
Acquaintances from the early years remember that the Graham youngsters were less than models of decorum in their behavior at church and other public gatherings, but Ruth did her best to exercise a rather stern and consistent discipline at home. She claimed to have obtained some of her most effective child-rearing techniques from a dog-training manual whose directives included keeping commands simple and at a minimum, seeing to it that they were obeyed, rewarding obedience with praise and being consistent.
Gigi recalled, “She was strict. I got spanked nearly every day. Franklin, too. Anne didn’t seem to need it. But Mother had a great sense of humor, and we had a lot of fun. I have no memories of a screaming mother.”

When Billy was home, which was less than half the time, much of Ruth’s disciplinary regimen went out the window. “Mother would have us in a routine,” Gigi recalled. “She monitored our TV watching, made us do our homework, and put us to bed at a set time. Then, when Daddy was home, he’d say, ‘Oh, let them stay up and watch this TV show with me,’ or he’d give us extra spending money for candy and gum. Mother always handled it with grace. She never said, ‘Well, here comes Bill. Everything I’m trying to do is going to be all messed up.’ She just said, ‘Whatever your daddy says is fine with me.’ ”

Gigi offered a possible explanation of her father’s more relaxed approach. “Once, he disciplined me for something I did. I don’t even remember what it was about, but we had some disagreement in the kitchen. I ran up the stairs, and when I thought I was out of range, I stomped my feet. Then I ran into my room and locked my door. He came up the stairs, two at a time it sounded like, and he was angry. When I finally opened the door, he pulled me across the room, sat me on the bed, and gave me a real tongue-lashing. I said, ‘Some dad you are! You go away and leave us all the time!’ Immediately, his eyes filled with tears. It just broke my heart. That whole scene was always a part of my memory bank after that. I realized he was making a sacrifice, too. But it does seem like he didn’t discipline us much after that.”

Over time, Ruth also became more flexible, reducing the number of her demands on the children to those she thought were essential. But when they reached an appropriate age, she and Billy sent all of them off to boarding school. Bunny acknowledged that part of their motivation might have been to provide their children with a better education than was available locally, but thought that was a minor factor. “Daddy was burdened, Mother was overwhelmed. It was easier to send us away.”

Like her sisters, Bunny remembers being groomed for the life of wife, homemaker and mother. “There was never an idea of a career for us,” she said. “I wanted to go to nursing school — Wheaton had a five-year program — but Daddy said no. No reason, no explanation, just ‘No.’ It wasn’t confrontational and he wasn’t angry, but when he decided, that was the end of it.” She added, “He has forgotten that. Mother has not.”
Franklin was always a handful. As an adolescent, he smoke, drank and drove fast, practices echoed in his adult image — he still rides a Harley, often preaches in a motorcycle jacket, and his first book was titled, “Rebel With a Cause.”

Ned, the youngest sibling, manifested his rebellion by turning to more than a casual use of drugs, including cocaine. “While I was embroiled in all that,” he recalled, “my parents were just very patient. They expressed concern and displeasure over the behavior, but never once did they make me feel they rejected me as a person. Their love for me was always unconditional. Their home was always open, no matter what condition I was in. They gave themselves to me, and I never felt their love was conditioned on meeting some requirement. Eventually, their grace and love were just irresistible.”
As adults, publicly and to a large extent privately, the Graham offspring have seldom said anything more negative about their family life than, “We weren’t perfect.” In recent years, daughter Ruth — now no longer known as Bunny — has been more outspoken about what she regards as the disadvantages of growing up in a famous family.
“My father’s relation with the family has been awkward,” she said in a 2005 interview, “because he has two families: BGEA [the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association] and us. I always resented that. We were footnotes in books — literally. Well, we’re not footnotes. We are real, living, breathing people.”
She said there was no question her father loved them, but his ministry was all-consuming. “We have coped,” she said. “We have not rejected them or Christ. We’re all involved in some form of ministry. We have done well at living up to people’s expectations, but it is a burden. We were not a perfect family and I’m tired of people saying it. I don’t want to be indiscreet, but God inhabits honesty, and I’m not good at image-management.”
Three of the five Graham children have divorced. Ruth was the first. When she discovered that her husband had been engaged in a long-running affair, she was devastated. “At first I resorted to my familiar pattern of denial — covering over my hurt with spiritual platitudes. I prayed. I fasted. I forgave. I claimed Bible promises. I did all I’d been taught to do. I also hid my problems from everyone, humiliated that others — especially my family — would find out.”
Her family did find out, of course, and Graham strongly urged her not to divorce, telling her it would hurt millions of evangelical Christians who looked to his ministry and their family for inspiration.
After one crucial conversation, Ruth recalled, “I saw how important the ministry was to him — and how little the family was. Things had to look right, and divorce didn’t fit.” Ruth acknowledged, however, that once they realized the marriage was over, they “were always very loving.” “Inside, there was that core of love and grace and gentleness. I’m not sure Daddy could understand the hurt I felt, but he could understand broken trust. That’s where we could communicate. He has been betrayed, hurt, and gone ahead.”
Ruth soon realized that countless Christian families have been torn apart or severely injured by similar stresses and that, contrary to her and her father’s fears, her divorce was “barely a blip on the radar screen.” She has used her experiences to communicate the truth that even the most famous Christians are not exempt from the problems that trouble most people. “We all,” she said, “still have to work through the mess and muck of life. You can’t just slap a Bible verse over a wound and expect it to heal.”
In several books and in conferences titled, “Ruth Graham & Friends,” she joins with other women to share stories of coping with the pains of such troubles as infidelity, spousal abuse, divorce, illness and addiction.
She writes of the difficulties of being part of an often idealized but still quite human family and assures her audiences, “God doesn’t love Billy Graham or his family any more than he loves you.”

William Martin is the Harry & Hazel Chavanne professor emeritus of religion and public policy at Rice University. He is the author of “A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story,” (William Morrow, 1991). An updated edition is being published by Zondervan.


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